$1 million in upgrades transforms Cherbourg women’s shelter

The establishment of a new shelter in Cherbourg will better protect women and children in the community who are experiencing domestic and family violence.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the Palaszczuk Government acted on the $1 million upgrade works after identifying the previous women’s safe house wasn’t up to scratch.

“The replacement of this shelter was a commitment under our Queensland Housing Strategy 2017-2020 Action Plan, which includes a plan to replace shelters in the remote and discrete communities of Pormpuraaw, Woorabinda and Cherbourg,” Mr de Brenni said.

“After signing a 30-year lease with Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council to take over an existing, under-utilised building, we then set about delivering $1 million in upgrade works to transform the property.

“The new shelter features improved kitchen and laundry facilities, air-conditioners, security screens and fencing, in addition to communal areas and outdoor recreational spaces, including a children’s play area.

“Forty local jobs were supported during the upgrade works, with the majority of contractors secured from nearby towns including Murgon, Wondai and Kingaroy, as per the Palaszczuk Government’s successful Buy Queensland procurement policy.”

Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad said the shelter would provide safe accommodation and support for up to four women and their children every night.

“When women make the brave decision to leave a violent relationship, we need to make sure they have somewhere to go to, and they get the support they need,” Ms Trad said.

“That’s why our government will continue to work with service provider UnitingCare Community, to ensure Cherbourg women and children get help they need, when they need it, to get their lives back on track.

Minister Anthony Lynham, Ministerial Champion for Cherbourg, said the shelter will prove crucial for supporting and protecting local women.

“The importance of having safe shelters for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence was highlighted in the Not Now, Not Ever report,” Mr Lynham said.

“UnitingCare Community is an experienced service provider to the people of Cherbourg, and will continue to deliver support to women temporarily accommodated in the new shelter.”

Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Di Farmer said the government was working to deliver more shelters in Queensland during 2019.

“Shelters are critically important to help support women and their children who have made the courageous decision to escape violent homes by offering a safe place to stay and the support they all need to rebuild their lives,” Ms Farmer said.

“We’re currently building two new shelters in Caboolture and on the Gold Coast, which will bring us up to seven shelters built by the Palaszczuk Government – these are the first shelters built by any Queensland Government in more than two decades.

“Once all of these new shelters come online, there will be 319 places of safe temporary overnight accommodation for women and children who need it.”

The renovation of the Cherbourg building commenced in July 2018.

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